Educational Philosophy

Our Vision Statement

We are a community of mighty thinkers and doers. We value each learner as an active participant on a personal journey toward success. We seek to understand ourselves and work together to impact our families, our community, and the world.

Educational Philosophy

At University Park we are a caring community of learners who are respectful and responsible. We share a love of discovery and take joy in our journey.

clark_classroomAt University Park, we are committed to nurturing the whole child. Our teachers are lifelong learners with training to differentiate their instruction, challenging gifted students while ensuring success for all.  Our instructional team collaborates to identify student strengths and needs, and then works collaboratively to ensure a comprehensive, targeted approach to teaching and learning. Physical fitness, wellness, the arts, and technology are integral and valued parts of our educational experience.  At University Park, we love learning and foster a caring community built on respect, responsibility, and cooperation.

At University Park we are a caring community of learners. . .

  • Our neighborhood school enjoys a longstanding, working partnership with our neighbor, the University of Denver.
  • We value cultural and linguistic diversity, and we are proud to have students from around the world among our learning community.
  • About 40% of our students “choice-in” to our school.
  • Our dedicated parents and community members participate in all levels of our children’s education, from helping in our classrooms to aiding our leadership team in making executive decisions through the Collaborative School Committee (CSC) and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA).

…who are respectful and responsible.

  • Older students mentor younger students in reading, art, and other programs.
  • Character education through The BrainWise Program is part of our curriculum.

upark2014-60We share a love of discovery. . .

  • The Neighborhood Center: Tuition-based before and after-school licensed childcare for our students.
  • English Language Acquisition program: Our ELA families speak more than a dozen languages!
  • Gifted and Talented: Our GT teacher works with teachers to develop high-quality, differentiated instruction and a challenge program.
  • Instrumental music for 4th and 5th grades
  • Integrated arts — students learn visual arts, drama, music and dance.
  • Librarian supports a love of reading and the learning of research skills.
  • Full-time physical education.
  • After-school tutoring provided by University of Denver (DU) student volunteers and additional in-school tutoring for students reading below grade level.
  • Destination Imagination: an after school program that encourages divergent thinking, creative problem solving, and teamwork, sponsored in part by DU.
  • Before- and after-school enrichment: Approximately 30 free and paid classes include drama, art, STEM, cooking, chess, karate, Spanish, French, technology, garden club, hip-hop, and more!
  • Technical literacy through our computer lab.

. . . and take joy in our journey.

  • Our PTA augments the principal and school’s budget which allows for additional staff and support throughout the school.
  • Festivities include back-to-school watermelon socials, Fall Fun Run & Carnival, Multi-Cultural Night, math night, art night, teacher appreciation lunches and much more!
  • We celebrate student achievement by honoring students from every class.

Reading and Writing

Each classroom implements a reader’s and writer’s workshop in which students receive direct instruction in whole group, small groups, and one-on-one situations. These targeted instruction models allow our teachers to meet each student’s individual needs in order to reach or surpass grade level expectations. Students read and write a variety of genres each year. We nurture a love of reading and writing through modeling and providing authentic opportunities for students to express themselves.

everydaymathBridges and Zearn

These programs emphasize the application of mathematics to real world situations. Numbers, skills and mathematical concepts are not presented in isolation, but are linked to situations and contexts that are relevant to everyday lives. Each lesson includes time for whole-group instruction as well as small group, partner, or individual activities. These activities balance teacher-directed instruction with opportunities for open-ended, hands-on explorations, long-term projects and on-going practice. Throughout the curriculum students are encouraged to explain and discuss their mathematical thinking, in their own words.

Mystery Science and Science Tracks

Students using BSCS Science Tracks become engaged in the process of scientific inquiry and technological design by asking questions, conducting investigations, using tools, finding evidence, keeping reflective journals, and sharing their evidence and ideas. Students learn to work together as reliable members of a scientific team–a great way to make sure everybody in the group is involved and successful. The experiment-based modules also encourage independent inquiry through which students find answers to their own questions. Within each lesson, students check their own understanding individually or with their team and are engaged in hands-on learning.

Social Studies Alive!

Social Studies Alive! is program integrating hands-on active learning, achieving a consistent pattern of high quality social studies instruction while being mindful of standards. Assignments, involving multiple intelligences and higher-order thinking skills, challenge students to apply what they’ve learned. Students have opportunities to synthesize and apply the information they have learned in a variety of creative ways.

English Language Acquisition (ELA)

Three dedicated educators provide small-group language instruction as part of a pullout program for students learning English as a second language. This instruction supports the students who bring wonderful cultural diversity to our school.

Gifted and Talented Program

At University Park, we have a Gifted and Talented teacher who works four days per week with classroom teachers and small groups of students to ensure our gifted and high-achieving students continue to be challenged. In cooperation with classroom teachers, the Gifted and Talented teacher develops an individualized Advanced Learning Plan for each identified gifted student. Gifted and high-achieving students have the opportunity to participate in four unique cross-school challenges throughout the year. We also have several teams of students participate in Destination Imagination each year.

Reading and Math Intervention

Students who are achieving below grade level in reading or math receive additional small-group instruction during an intervention block that does not interfere with core instruction. The additional support our students receive helps bring them to proficiency.


At University Park, all students in grades K-5 have physical education, integrated arts, drama/music, and library in addition to their core academics. These creative and physical outlets support our desire to meet the needs of the whole child.

Band is offered to 4th and 5th graders in woodwinds, brass and percussion. Over 60 students receive instruction before school two times per week. Both beginning and intermediate band are offered. University of Denver Lamont School of Music and Metro State University students provide sectionals for each instrument section throughout the year. School-wide performances occur throughout the school year.


  • Students become readers with small group and one-on-one instruction targeting individual needs.
  • Literature rich environment with opportunities to reread and dramatize quality books and express connections through art
    Students become authors, exploring their own lives and experiences through writing.
  • Explicit instruction and modeling allow students to write frequently in a variety of genres.
  • Math instruction and exploration through games and the use of real world materials.

1st Grade

  • Science units of animals, properties and weather
  • Emphasis on building friendships and community
  • Denver Zoo field trip connected to life science unit
  • Use of technology to publish research online

2nd Grade

  • Ice skating and swimming excursions
  • Community service project to collect stuffed animals for the Child Rescue Foundation
  • Reading Buddies with UPark third graders
  • Environmentally friendly geography balloon launch
  • Cultural heritage projects
  • Community walking field trips

3rd Grade

  • Denver history
  • Genesee hiking trip
  • Hatching chicks from eggs
  • Curiosity project

4th Grade

  • Study of ecosystems – field trip to Museums/IMAX
  • Young AmeriTowne
  • Develop PowerPoint presentations
  • Avid 4 Adventure
  • Annual egg drop challenge – create containers to safely transport an egg from a 2nd floor window

5th Grade

  • DPS Shakespeare Festival
  • Young AmeriTowne
  • Avid 4 Adventure
  • Balarat Outdoor Education
  • Create own math board games
  • Student Council

If you are looking for a caring learning community where students come first, join us at University Park Elementary School! Schedule a tour!